Why you may already be a part of the FasTrak class action lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A trial is about to begin in the long-awaited class action lawsuit against FasTrak -- and 7 On Your Side has received a flood of response from Bay Area motorists. Many want to know how to get their gripes settled in court, too.

As soon as 7 On Your Side reported that a judge refused to dismiss the case, we got a torrent of reaction from viewers frustrated with FasTrak. Many claim they were wrongly charged with toll evasion, and shocked by huge penalties. Some couldn't register their cars. And many asked us, how can I join the class action?

Well turns out -- you may already be a part of it.

RELATED: FasTrak wants to keep secret from the public about how it handles tolls and penalties

The lawsuit began after the Golden Gate Bridge switched to all-electronic tolling in 2013. Drivers without a FasTrak account are supposed to get toll invoices in the mail. The lawsuit says thousands of motorists never got their invoices, often due to address mistakes. But instead of trying to find the motorists, it says FasTrak destroyed the returned mail and tacked on penalties.

Class action attorney Adam Gutride: "What FasTrak did was they shredded the invoices, and imposed the penalty on top of that."

Now FasTrak and the Golden Gate Bridge say they've improved the system. But they want to keep their policies a secret from all of us, saying the public could use the information to, quote, game the system and avoid paying tolls. The judge has agreed to seal the information in court documents. The court has yet to decide if we can hear about those public policies in open court - or if they should be kept under wraps.

RELATED: FasTrak wants to keep tolling policies a secret

As all the haggling goes on, hundreds of viewers have told their stories to 7 On Your Side and on social media, saying FasTrak unfairly charged them with toll penalties too. And they feel helpless to dispute them.

Dave in San Jose writes: "Supposedly in a span of six or seven months we racked up 33 tolls totaling $1,200. I knew nothing about these violations until I tried to register our car... and we have a FasTrak account we always keep up to date."

Rachel writes on Facebook: "I paid over $1,200 in fees for bridge tolls I never got. And in order to register my car, I had to pay them."

Sharon writes, "How do people join the class action suit?"

As it turns out, you don't have to join the class action lawsuit, you are already in it. That is, if you fit the definition of this class.

RELATED: Bay Area bridges to get rid of all cash lanes

So how do you know?

You are in the class if you've crossed the Golden Gate Bridge since 2013 and received a toll penalty.. the suit says you are entitled at least to a hearing.

Also, the suit asks for a full refund if your toll invoice was never delivered to you, and it got thrown away by FasTrak.

The suit does not cover drivers on other bridges, but it demands FasTrak use a fair system to notify drivers before slapping penalties, and to hear your disputes. That affects all drivers on all Bay Area bridges.

If you want to hear what FasTrak has to say, you can attend the trial in person in San Francisco Superior Court beginning on Monday. 7 On Your Side will be there and will object to hiding those public policies.



Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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